a year in BA

As I approach the date marking a year i’ve been living in Buenos Aires, I’ve begun to reflect on how my life has changed and the experiences i’ve lived over the last twelve months.

Here are some of the valuable lessons i’ve learnt:

BA puts NYC in the shade, this really is the city that never sleeps and i’ve been tired for 359 days.

For some unknown reason, porters of apartment blocks ‘water’ the pavements, making loose paving stones enemy number one, unless you’re a fan of fetid gritty water splashed up to your knees.

Argentine boys kiss like washing machines on a fast spin cycle and foreplay is something they need to google (unless you’re lucky).

It’s a mystery as to why there is such a coin/small bill shortage in this city, with many urban legends/speculative theories in circulation as to the reason. Most kioskeros would prefer to part with their left kidney than their shrapnel, most merchants would prefer to part with their right kidney than give you change for 100 peso bill on a purchase of anything under 20.

Queueing is a national pastime: the express lane is anything but and death by red tape is not uncommon.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. I’d rather go dutch.

Sex hotels (telos) are as cheesy as they sound, an LED display counting down your minutes of ‘intimacy’, wall to ceiling mirrors, kitsch furnishings, jacuzzis, themed rooms, sex toys on sale, some even offer loyalty cards (no joke). You can’t help feeling like you’re in some dodgy 70s porno.

Thursday night is apparently ‘cheat night’, when people frequent after office happy hours and play away from home. Not the smartest thinking if you’re trying to keep it on the down low.

Public displays of affection are perfectly acceptable, on the underground seat next to you, on a park bench, in a restaurant, often noisy and within earshot.

Most Porteños can’t handle their spice. Just the mention of black pepper and they run for the hills.

Here acelga (swiss chard) is King, but it gets a raw deal and is sadly anything but ‘raw’ in its final incarnation, an overcooked green mulch parading as veg.

There is no logical explanation for how much things cost here: for the price of a litre of milk you can travel the equivalent of London to Brighton, twice.

It’s all about the old biddies as far as fashion is concerned in this city, i get my style pointers from octogenarians these days.


One Comment on “a year in BA”

  1. Andrea says:

    It made me howl with laughter – such quirky, incisive comments about the city where I was born, and where I often feel like a foreigner these days. Miss Bell certainly has the gift when it comes to visual, amusing tales of Buenos Aires and its inhabitants. Chapeau!!


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